By Bill Hicks, Region 7 Solutions Consultant
Thanks to everyone who has already reached out regarding a Capstone Design Project for this academic year which begins on August 24. After my last article, I’ve reviewed and accepted several projects for Industrial & Systems Engineering as have Dr. Larry Sharpe in Mechanical, Aerospace and Biomedical Engineering (MABE) and Dr. Keith Stanfill in the College’s Integrated Senior Design program. We’re happy to discuss your project opportunities for a few more weeks before Fall Semester starts at UT Knoxville.
Based on several common questions I’ve received since last month’s article, I wanted to share the following:
- Capstone Design projects should be important to your business, but not mission critical
- Capstone projects are part of an academic program with academic deadlines and shouldn’t be considered as contract engineering.
- A student team is typically comprised of four-to-five students who are each expected to work on their project six-to-eight hours per week. For the sponsoring company, this equals one full time engineer (FTE) for the nine-month project.
- Frequent reasons for companies to participate in Capstone Design projects include
- Student recruitment (a nine-month interview of several students)
- Volunteerism (providing practical experience for students)
- Alumni obligations (giving back to the University)
- Philanthropy (supporting the community)
- A sponsoring company needs to select an executive sponsor who can commit to regular weekly or bi-weekly meetings with the project team.
- In addition to an executive sponsor, a sponsoring company needs to select a day-to-day liaison engineer or technical contact for exchanging information with the student team. Many sponsor companies choose an individual who they are considering for promotion to a leadership role to test their abilities to manage a student team.